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The SEC In The NBA Draft: Who’s In Good Shape And Who Isn’t

nba_logoAs we finish up the final week of the 2013-14 basketball season, players across the nation are announcing their NBA intentions.  In the last three days LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant and Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson have both revealed that they will be leaving school and turning pro early.

Every player’s case is unique to them — family issues, monetary needs, scholastic troubles — so it’s impossible to say definitively, “Yes, that guy made a mistake.”  For some a six-figure salary in the Netherlands or Turkey might be an A-OK next step.  For others missing out on the guaranteed contract that comes with being a first-round selection will very much disappoint.

Below is the current list of SEC players as ranked by, one of the more trusted, quoted mock drafts on the web.  It’s an indicator of who’s in good shape to land one of those guaranteed NBA contracts and who isn’t…


4.  Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Freshman

12.  Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky, Sophomore

25.  James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky, Freshman


That’s it for projected first-round picks, folks.  Three players.  All from Kentucky.  All underclassmen.  Not a single upperclassman from the SEC is expected to be first-round material.

Here’s who’s listed in the second round by DraftExpress…


41.  Patric Young, PF/C, Florida, Senior

46.  Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri, Junior

47.  Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri, Junior

49.  Johnny O’Bryant, PF/C, LSU, Junior

50.  Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee, Junior

60.  Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee, Senior


From purely a basketball perspective, Brown, Clarkson, O’Bryant and Stokes should return to school.  Clarkson and O’Bryant have already announced their plans to leave.  But as noted earlier, we don’t know the personal issues facing any of these players.  We don’t know how scouts will view them if they go through workouts for the pros.  And we don’t know if what’s dropped these players deep into the second round this year could be patched up over the course of another collegiate season.

A few other quickie thoughts:


*  From the looks of this list, Florida has dominated this season more through the craftiness of veteran players than through sheer NBA talent.  Kudos again to that team and to Billy Donovan.

*  Only three Kentucky kids projected to be drafted?  Why, production at John Calipari’s player factory has darned near slowed to a drip.  (Sarcasm.)

*  Tennessee has two upperclassmen projected to go in the final 11 picks of the draft.  No wonder the Vols made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

*  Missouri, on the other hand, failed to reach the NCAA Tournament with its own pair of slightly higher-rated stars.  Don’t think Tiger fans won’t let Frank Haith hear about that one.

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SEC Headlines 4/1/2014

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. Alabama coach Nick Saban believes players “should have a voice” when it comes to their rights.

2. Here’s a report from Alabama practice with depth updates at several positions.

3. Auburn center Reese Dismukes has set his own goals to improve this offseason.

4. Set your calendar: LSU and UCLA will play a home-and-home series in 2021 and 2024.

5. LSU’s Ronald Martin and Jalen Mills are battling to hold onto the Tigers’ starting safety positions.

6. C.J. Hampton enrolled this semester at Ole Miss so he can help the Rebels this fall.

7. Kevin Sumlin says Texas A&M has programs in place to educate the school’s athletes off the field.

8. Freshman Will Grier has moved into the No. 2 quarterback role for Florida behind starter Jeff Driskel.

9. Georgia wide receiver Reggie Davis is focused on football and not track as he gets ready for his sophomore season.

10. Marc Weiszer has eight takeaways at the midway point of Georgia’s spring practice.

11. Athlon Sports ranks all 14 head coaches in the SEC. No. 1 will not surprise you.

12. Dylan Thompson is ready to become South Carolina’s full-time starter at quarterback.

SEC/Final Four

13. Florida will look to avenge its December loss to UConn when the two teams play on Saturday.

14. A Florida-Kentucky championship game matchup is inevitable, writes Pat Dooley.

15. Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn’t expected Willie Cauley-Stein to play in the Final Four.

16. This run by Kentucky isn’t like any we’ve ever seen, writes Mark Story.

17. CBS Sports expects lean toward a Florida-Kentucky matchup in the championship game.

SEC Basketball

18. Cuonzo Martin has reportedly pulled his name out of the running for the Marquette job.

19. Bruce Pearl is in the process of filling out his staff. His son will move to a strength and conditioning position.

20. LSU forward Johnny O’Bryant is likely to announce his future plans sometime today.

21. Guard Jordan Clarkson is leaving Missouri early for the NBA Draft.

22. Tony Criswell’s father was critical of Missouri coach Frank Haith when he called into the Paul Finebaum Show. Criswell called in to defend Haith.


23. Vanderbilt has consulted lawyers on player unionization.

24. Michigan football coach Brady Hoke is working to improve his team’s level of toughness.

25. Here are 11 amazing facts about the Final Four.

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Florida, Kentucky & Tennessee Hoops: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

updateBilly Donovan has Florida back in the Final Four.  Kentucky will be in Arlington, too.  And Tennessee appears to be on the verge of yet another coaching search. In other words, same old same old.

* Tennessee: On Friday night, missed free throws cost the Volunteers a trip to the Elite Eight for just the second time in school history.  On Sunday, coach Cuonzo Martin was meeting with Marquette officials.  How does a major SEC school with a top-notch arena find itself on the verge of losing its coach to the Golden Eagles?  Well, that petition to “Bring Back Bruce” Pearl to Knoxville is a good place to start.

A vocal segment of the UT fanbase never gave Martin a chance.  He inherited an NCAA cloud and a roster picked for 10th place in the SEC.  His teams got better each year, culminating with this year’s Sweet Sixteen run.  But fans who will accept no one other than Pearl cared not.  ”He can’t recruit.”  ”He’s a terrible coach.”  ”He doesn’t excite us.”  ”He doesn’t play an exciting brand of basketball.”  All have been heard in the Volunteer State.  A internet report on Friday claimed that some Tennessee boosters had denied Martin the right to use their private planes to recruit.  Athletic director Dave Hart was ready to fire Martin had the Vols missed the NCAA Tournament.  And on top of this, Martin has the third best record in the SEC over the last three years (behind Donovan and John Calipari) but his salary ranks 10th or 11th in the league depending on which list of contracts you trust.  UT’s brass didn’t race to hand him an extension and a raise after the Vols fell on Friday, either. If you were Martin and you had a chance to get back to the Midwest (he played at Purdue), make more money, re-start your clock (always the smart move), and work at a school where basketball is the top sport, wouldn’t you take it? From what we at have been told, Martin and Marquette have all but sealed their deal.  UT’s coach and AD are expected to meet today, but at this point it would be a major surprise if Martin were to stalk the Tennessee sideline next season.  The coach’s buyout clause to leave Tennessee drops from $2.6 million to $1.3 million when the clock hits midnight tonight.  The only negotiation today might be over that clause. Hart and Tennessee seem to have little interest in coughing up big cash for a man they were ready to fire two weeks ago.  And after being given the “You’re not Bruce Pearl!” treatment in Knoxville, it’s not believed Martin wants to stick around when a portion of the fanbase will always be against him.  It’s also important to remember that Hart played basketball at Alabama.  He’s a hoops guy and likely feels he can find his own basketball coach; he inherited Martin. Things are always fluid and last-minute surprises can’t be ruled out, but it looks like Tennessee is about to be in the market for yet another new coach.

* Florida: Billy Donovan is well on his way to passing Adolph Rupp — sacrilege, I know — as the SEC’s best all-time basketball coach.  This year’s trip to the Final Four is his fourth.  He’s also been to seven Elite Eights.  He’s reached the NCAA Tournament title game three times, winning twice.  His team is the favorite to capture another crown next Monday night. There are no recruiting scandals in Donovan’s closet.  In fact, there have been no scandals of any kind which is incredibly impressive considering the Gators have won 72% of their games since Donovan’s arrival in 1996. So why is he on path to surpass the Baron of the Bluegrass?  Timing.  Rupp dominated the basketball landscape in an age when the NCAA Tournament welcomed only league champions.  Donovan has thrived in a 64+ team world.  He’s excelled in age of omnipresent media and investigative journalists.  Winning big today beats winning big in yesteryear.  That’s no knock on Rupp.  His birth date was just a bit beyond his control.  But facts are facts and it’s tougher to dominate in this day and age. Oh, and Donovan also had to build UF’s program in the shadow of the empire Rupp left behind.

* Kentucky: It’s time to put the “He’s a great recruiter, not a great coach” insult to bed.  John Calipari is indeed a great coach.  What he’s accomplishing in Lexington is remarkable and it might not ever be duplicated.  In five years at the helm of the Wildcat program, Calipari has won one national title, been to three Final Fours and four Elite Eights.  That’s impressive in itself.  But to have achieved those results with teams basically built around a new group of freshman every single year?  To quote Ralphie from “The Simpsons,” that’s unpossible. When Calipari started his conveyor belt of all-star newbies, many fans and media members — this site included — wondered if anyone could convince freshmen to a) play defense and b) put their egos aside for the good of the team.  After all, Calipari brings in four or five guys each year who were used to being the go-to guys on their high school squads.  Not only has he actually pulled it off, but he’s pulling it off pretty consistently.  Last year’s bunch landed in the NIT.  Aside from that, no fanbase — not even Kentucky’s — can shrug off yearly trips to the Elite Eight and Final Four. Make no mistake, the Cats are loaded with talent every year.  But look at the youth on your own favorite squad and you’ll likely say, “That freshman is going to have to grow up and improve.”  At Kentucky, Calipari has a whole squad of guys who need to grow up fast and learn and improve under the weight of enormous expectations.  Every year. Not a great coach?  Please.  Give Calipari his due.  No one else is even brave enough to try his approach.  Yet he’s winning big with it.

Tennessee: If Martin leaves Knoxville for Milwaukee, the Volunteers will be looking for their fifth head basketball coach since 2001.  Couple that with consistent turnover on the football sideline and in the baseball dugout and it appears the UT athletic department needs to replace its front door with one that revolves.  And that might be the most ironic thing about Martin’s potential exit. At a school that has dealt with the decline of Phillip Fulmer, a one-night stand with Lane Kiffin, the Derek Dooley disaster as well as baseball flubs and fumbles, one would think the only coach of a major men’s program who’s actually been winning would have been appreciated.  Instead, many Volunteer fans are shrugging their shoulders at the Martin situation.  It’s believed by many that the Vols can and will go land a more proven coach who can win and excite the fanbase as Pearl once did.  But Tennessee has never hired a long-tenured, “name” head coach in the history of its program.  In fact, most schools don’t land those kind of hires. And what might coaches on UT’s search list — if Martin leaves, of course — think about a program where Martin’s 19+ wins per season were only good enough to generate a petition to bring back the guy who left the school on probation?  (A guy who’s no longer just a ghost to Tennessee, he’s now a living, breathing, coaching entity at Auburn.) The usual names are being kicked around — Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, Archie Miller of Dayton (though he signed a contract extension in February that was just announced last week).  UT has passed on Marshall twice before so who knows if he’d be interested?  He also might follow the leads of Brad Stevens, Mark Few, and Shaka Smart by remaining a big fish in a smaller, less choppy pond. As for Miller, let’s compare his resume to Martin’s:

  Miller School   Record    Conf. Finish   Tournament Finish   Season   Martin School   Record   Conf. Finish   Tournament Finish
  2008-2009   Missouri St.   11-20   10th (MVC)   None
  2009-2010   Missouri St.   24-12   7th (MVC)   CIT
  2010-2011   Missouri St.   26-9   1st (MVC)   NIT
  Dayton   20-13   5th (A-10)   NIT   2011-2012   Tennessee   19-15   2nd (SEC)   NIT
  Dayton   17-14   11th (A-10)   None   2012-2013   Tennessee   20-13   5th (SEC)   NIT
  Dayton   26-11   5th (A-10)   NCAA Elite 8   2013-2014   Tennessee   24-13   4th (SEC)   NCAA Sweet 16

If you stripped the names from those two resumes here’s guessing many a Volunteer fan would pick the one on the right in a blind test.  Two schools.  Bad inheritance both times.  Higher win totals each year. If Martin goes, we wish the best of luck to Hart.  He’ll be expected to make a flashy hire.  If he can’t, then he’ll be expected to at least land someone who can stand toe-to-toe with Pearl as a coach and marketer.  Anything less will likely be met with the same ho-hum feelings that have defined Martin’s tenure. Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Headlines 3/31/2014

 headlines-monSEC Football

1. Report: Alabama will hire former Washington assistant Tosh Lupoi in an off-field role.

2. Alabama will get back to work this week as the team returns from spring break.

3. Auburn is adjusting its defensive line by trying to get bigger bodies on the field at the same time.

4. Angelo Blackson is hoping to earn more playing time at defensive tackle for the Tigers.

5. Arkansas is giving Kody Walker a look at fullback to see if he can handle the position.

6. LSU is putting its quarterbacks to the test as the Tigers continue to look for a starter.

SEC/NCAA Tournament

7. Pat Forde steps up and eats some crow now that Kentucky has advanced to the Final Four.

8. Kentucky’s toughness is a big reason the Wildcats are still alive in the tournament.

9. Are we headed toward an all-SEC championship game? Gary Parrish takes a look.

10. Florida and Kentucky are the two best teams in the Final Four, writes Jeff Borzello.

11. Florida will get its rematch with UConn, which is the last team to beat the Gators.

12. Former UConn standout Kevin Ollie has returned the program to an elite level as its coach.

13. Which teams have the advantages when it comes to matchups in the Final Four?

SEC Basketball

14. Report: Marquette officials met with Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin on Sunday.

15. The SEC is still a lousy league despite the success of Florida and Kentucky, writes David Climer.


16. Michigan State Tom Izzo said he’s learned from Nick Saban’s public handling of job speculation.

17. Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins is expected to announce today he’s leaving for the NBA.

18. Basketball coach Tommy Amaker announced he will stay at Harvard.

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SEC Headlines 3/31/2014

headlines-sun3-150x150SEC Basketball

1. Would coach Cuonzo Martin leave Tennessee for Marquette?

2. Mark Wiedmar: Tennessee A.D. Dave Hart “secretly hopes Martin will jump to Marquette or elsewhere, and the sooner the better, since his buyout dips from $2.6 million to $1.3 million on Tuesday.”

3. Martin may not be the only one leaving.  Will Jarnell Stokes enter the NBA draft?

4. Could former Louisville guard Kevin Ware be headed to Auburn?  

5. Detroit columnist: “Michigan’s Fab Five changed the look and feel of college basketball. Kentucky’s Fab Five is just a collection of AAU stars…”

6. Money for Rupp Arena renovation left out of a Kentucky state budget deal.

7. Missouri coach Frank Haith: “We have to want to make it to the NCAA Tournament every year.”

SEC Football

8. LSU quarterback Stephen Rivers wants to transfer to Vanderbilt. “I took a visit there and really enjoyed it.”

9. Hospitalized on Thursday, Auburn defensive tackle Tyler Nero attended practice Saturday but did not participate.

10. Weather forced Auburn inside for its first scrimmage of the spring.

11. Kentucky-Louisville in basketball is just a warmup for what could happen in football if Alabama and Auburn meet in a playoff game.

12. Five areas where Alabama needs to improve before its spring game.

13. Tight end Malcom Johnson impresses at Mississippi State’s first scrimmage.

14. Georgia coach Mark Richt on the Bulldogs first spring scrimmage: “There’s always something good happening, there’s always something bad happening I guess you could say.”

15. Butch Jones at Tennessee’s scrimmage: “What happens when Alabama comes in here and runs the ball?”

16. LSU coach Les Miles on the Tigers second scrimmage of the spring: “Hard-hitting.” Tigers put their young quarterbacks to the test.

17. The core of the Ole Miss team is its sophomore class.


18. Johnny Manziel to Texas coach Charlie Strong: “Sorry Charlie…”

19. Arizona fans throw bottles and firecrackers at police.  Cops respond with pepper spray.

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Final Four Florida; Kentucky Gets Its Shot

gfx-hoops-round-up2Florida 62 –  Dayton 52

1. Florida final-four bound.  Gators get 23 points, three assists and three steals from Scottie Wilbekin; named South Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.

2. Gators break through after three straight Elite 8 losses.  Coach Billy Donovan: “I think those experiences maybe helped us be a better team this year than maybe we would have been if we’d gotten to a couple of Final Fours earlier with these guys.”

3. Pat Forde: “The ghosts of Butler, Louisville and Michigan had been exorcised.”

4. The SEC is now 10-1 in the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky vs Michigan. 5:05 ET.  Kentucky a 2 1/2 point favorite

5. A Kentucky victory would make UK  the first team with an all-freshmen starting lineup since Michigan in 1993 to make the Final Four.

6. Mike DeCourcy on John Calipari’s NCAA Tournament success: “Since 2004, when he was at Memphis, he has coached in nine tournaments. He has yet to lose to a seed lower than No. 3.”

7. Calipari on Willie Cauley-Stein’s ankle injury: “He’s still in a boot. He’s doubtful.”

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Top MrSEC Clicks For The Week



SEC Headlines 3/29/2014

headlines-saturdaySEC Football

1. Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill suspended indefinitely. 19-year old arrested for public intoxication early Friday morning. ”Hill was passed out in a planter full of rocks and plants…”

2. Stolen but recovered.  More than $16,00 worth of gear and memorabilia from the Auburn locker room at Jordan-Hare Stadium,  including Bo Jackson and Cam Newton football memorabilia. Three Auburn men arrested this week.

3. Auburn’s football team accounted for 81 percent of athletic department revenue in 2012-2013.  Department ran a deficit approaching $900,000 for fiscal year 2013.

4. Surplus at Missouri for the first time since 2009 - 50 percent jump in operating revenue for the 2013 fiscal year.

5. What do Vanderbilt players think about the union ruling? “I don’t think it’s really an issue for us right now.”

6. “Somehow, I can’t see Johnny Manziel writing, “U-n-i-o-n,” on a piece of cardboard and jumping on a table in the middle of the Texas A&M locker room.”

7. “The notion peddled by the NCAA that it has the interests of the athletes foremost in its thinking is laughable.”

8. Florida’s holds its first big scrimmage of the spring today.

9. Targeting rule had a big impact on a Georgia game last season.  Bulldog players glad to see it tweaked.

10. One service ranks Mississippi State’s Chris Jones the top defensive tackle prospect in the NFL class of 2017.

11. South Carolina projects to have two seniors in its starting offensive line but they could also lose redshirt junior Brandon Shell if he elects to declare for the NFL Draft. 

12. Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin speaks.  Or at least tweets – for the first time in 193 days.

SEC Basketball

13. Is the fourth time the charm for Florida?  Heavily-favored Gators face Dayton tonight with a Final Four bid on the line.

14. Kentucky will face Michigan Sunday.  Willie Cauley-Stein’s status uncertain due ankle injury.  ”It’s not a good ankle injury.  Let’s put it that way.”

15. John Calipari gets called “Rick” at end of press conference last night. Kentucky fans celebrated overnight – put a match to “anything that would burn.”

16. Louisville’s Russ Smith went to the Kentucky locker room after the game last night to congratulate UK players.

17. Texas A&M A.D. Eric Hyman on the direction of the basketball program under Billy Kennedy: “You need time, and two years no matter where you are is just very difficult, unless your program is at the top.”

18. Marshall Henderson in a Florida Gators sweatshirt.


19. AJ McCarron and Katherine Webb, a love story. Proposed at a Gulf Shores restaurant with a ring he designed himself.

20. The Cleveland Browns have bigger things to worry about than not showing up for Johnny Manziel’s pro day.

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SEC Headlines 3/28/2014

Friday HeadlinesSEC Football

1. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen on former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron: “He’s a guy I have tremendous respect for and think is a fabulous football coach.”

2. Sophomore Quincy Adeboyejo expected to be a starting slot receiver at Ole Miss this fall.

3. At least for one day, Georgia’s spring practice was open to the media.

4. Auburn defensive lineman Tyler Nero hospitalized following incident at practice.

5. Auburn’s director of external operations Phillip Lolley is leaving to join the staff of the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.

6. Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson on the debate over the pace of college football: ”I think the slow-down guys are really not worried about injuries, and I think the speed-up guys are really not worried about how many plays they get.”

7. You can add the kicking game to the list of depleted positions this spring at LSU. Tigers anxiously await the arrival of running back Leonard Fournette.

8. Report: Old Dominion turns down $1.3 million to play at Alabama in 2015.

9. Alabama quarterback Blake Sims spent part of his spring break working out with a private quarterback coach.

10. Is South Carolina safety Brison Williams moving to cornerback this fall?

11. Tennessee was last in the SEC in sacks in 2013.  Vols hope outside linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt can change those numbers this fall. Butch Jones: “We’ll be much more talented, but very youthful.”

12. Kentucky defensive end Marcus Dupree: “Next year will be our year.”

Unionization of college athletes

13. Poll says 75% of Americans oppose the idea but support for the idea from Georgia athletes.

14. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “Of course they should be able to organize.”

15. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: “ I’ve advocated giving college football players and college basketball players a stipend.”

16. Tennessee basketball coach Cuonzo Martin: “You pay the tennis player the same as you play the football player. I don’t think that changes.”


17. 75 NFL personnel turn out for Johnny Manziel’s pro day. Former President George HW Bush and wife Barbara were in attendance.

18. Where might Auburn’s Dee Ford land?  “I hear a lot of talk about Philadelphia and New Orleans.”

SEC Basketball

19. “Florida coach Billy Donovan is rapidly cementing a reputation as the best coach in the SEC since the late Adolph Rupp.”

20.  ”It is difficult to imagine this Florida team — so close to the Final Four in each of its past four seasons, and more complete than ever before — missing out now.”

21. John Calipari on his relationship with Rick Pitino: ”I would say we’re friends.”

22. “The Vols enter the Midwest Regional semifinal against Michigan acting like a team scorned.”

23. Auburn playing UAB in the future?  ”We would love it.”

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Amadi Chooses Ole Miss

Ole Miss received good news this week when defensive back Ugo Amadi from John Overton High School in Nashville, Tenn., announced his commitment to Ole Miss.


The University of Ole Miss is starting to become one of the more prominent schools in recruiting – right up there with “the University of LSU.”

Amadi, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 20 cornerback by Rivals, chose Ole Miss over offers from Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Cincinnati and Purdue, among others.

“I chose Ole Miss just because I felt like it was a good fit,” he told Rivals. “Not just because of the coaches but because it’s close to home and I felt like I wanted to get out of Tennessee for a better situation. Now it’s a relief and I can just go out there and play ball keep my focus on getting better and getting ready for the next level.”

Amadi said Ole Miss has plans for him to help the Rebels immediately. He could make an impact on defense and specials teams.

“They said they’re going to let me play early,” Amadi said. “They want to give me a shot to earn the job as a punt returner and if I work for it I’ll be playing defense early, too. They told me they’re going to be playing five defensive backs and they’re only taking two in my class so that makes me feel comfortable knowing that they believe in me.”

Amadi is the fourth prospect and first defensive back to commit to Ole Miss’ 2015 class. He told Rivals he doesn’t anticipate any change with his decision.

“Right now my mind is made up about where I want to play the next four years,” Amadi said. “I don’t see that changing.”


Sheffield sticks with Vandy

Defensive back Donovan Sheffield from Ensworth High School in Nashville decided last weekend he wants to remain committed to Vanderbilt.

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